The Lord of the Rings: Shadow of the East
Chapter 20 Synopsis
The Quest of the Healing Tree, as told by Azagri, Thegn of Khazad-dûm and Shielder of Prince Thélor of Nurunkhizdín
Things were not looking good and the situation was grim. So basically just like any other day on this damnable quest! Wilyador, the Great Eagle that I single handedly saved from those goat-raping Orc’s was still on deaths door about to cross over as if the other side was filled with bearded Dwarf women!
Twenty-three Orc’s I felled with my mighty axe, their blood and guts strewn about the snow a testament to my mighty might. But one of the bastards got an arrow off and hit Wily. Poisoned it was, and real nasty. His feathers were falling out around the wound and a blackness seemed to be snaking under his skin.
Brógan pranced over and began gibbering his Elf witchery to cleanse the wound. Unfortunately his skills were not fruity enough and it could not be done. Knowing time was short I asked Thélor to get the wagon ready to travel while I constructed a littler to drag Wily to the nearest habitation and hopefully find someone able to help.
Normally I take my time cutting trees down but I was still feeling the rush of battle after killing thirty-five Orcs in single combat so I simply chopped down some trees with single strokes and threw one over each shoulder and sprinted as fast as my little Dwarf legs would carry me back to where Wily lay. A wondrous litter I constructed for the eagle with the crown jewel of my axe-pillow for him to lay his head upon.
We came upon a rag-tag settlement of Men. Brógan was sent ahead to find a medicine man and keep word of the Great Eagle on the down-low least there be any additional problem. Naturally he came back with half the god-damned town. Bony and leer-eyed starved wretches they were. They didn’t want to save Wily! They wanted to eat him! I could see it in their beardless eyes! Let them try! They think they can take me after so recently eradicating forty-one super Orcs? HA!
Thélor made it clear that there would be no such shenanigans. Wily was not on the menu. In my opinion it was time to kick some whole-sale ass but Thélor decided to use his words instead. Ugh. Blah blah blah blah no eating Great Eagles, blah blah blah super secret tree hugging leaves, blah blah blah old man gives us another ridiculous side adventure filled with peril and treachery blah blah frickin’ blah.
We had to travel to Mirkwood and find the Healing Tree of Cor Taurlolololololor or some such Elf non-sense. Three leaves we would be given and they had the power to heal all ailments. But we had no idea how to get there and Brógan assured us that no matter how hard he pranced, no matter how gaily he recited poems, no matter how homoerogenously he poked and tickled Wily, Wily would surely be dead soon.
So once again Azagri, single-handed slayer of fifty-eight super-Orcs to protect the greatest of the Great Eagles had to go to work. While Thélor was dealing with the local profiteer sucking everyone else dry to get us horses I tracked down some vital information. The women of this town barely charged two marks for a lay! Skin and bones they were, and no beardary about their faces like the other farmers daughter. They also mentioned some sick lass exiled to the outskirts of town being tended to by her wood-chopping husband and that he often went out in search of the Healing Tree.
My thanks for finding this information was a pat on the back and a ‘shut the hell up Zag don’t ruin this only chance to find the healing tree by seducing this guys wife’. Whatever. When you have just killed sixty-nine ravenous super-Orcs women’s undergarments fall off in your presence. I can’t help it. And if I could, I wouldn’t.
So off we set with Baldor and his other wood-chopping buddy Alric. Thélor promised Baldor one of the leaves to heal his plague-ridden wife. What Alric was getting I cannot say. They rode the horses Thélor procured while we sat on the back. We reached Mirkwood and the pansy horses would not enter. It was decided to leave Alric to tend to them while we trudged on.
After much meandering we came upon a path. I could sense we were being followed, possibly even corralled by what must have been wargs in the forest. Baldur would be heading in one direction and there would be howling which would turn him away. He assured us he was going in the right direction. At last we came upon a clearing seemingly untouched by the foulness that had beset Mirkwood. There were many ruins about and at the center an erect column that would make many a Dwarf jealous, but not me.
Of course it had prancy-pants elven scribbles upon it no doubt telling us exactly what we needed to do to find the magical Healing Tree of Crallala Trololollichs and safely get the hell out. I peed on it a little, but nothing happened. The clearing had four paths to choose from and none of them were clearly labeled as “The Way”.
As we were discussing the finer points of elven graffiti a hoarse voice assailed us from the darkness. “Back ye fiend of Melkor least ye be felled by the axe that just recently beheaded seventy-five super black Orc-troll warriors in defense of the greatest Great Eagle in the history of Great Eagles finds its way into your face!” I yelled! The figure from the darkness said its lady master would help us find the Tree of Healing and that we had to follow him. What could possibly go wrong?
So down the path we followed minus one scardy human left in the safe clearing to diddle himself no doubt. Not much of a talker this guide of ours was. A grumpy prick in need of a healthy amount of dwarven ale to was the assholery out. Anyway a good while later we came across an estate. Wonderfully maintained and quite beautiful to behold in the snow. There was even a green shrubbery wall with vibrantly red roses growing from it.
There we met the lady master of Pedoroar, or Pedobear, or Pedsomething I don’t know what his damn name was but he was a jerk. His lady master was a twelve-year old girl. She called herself Sarien Thindiel, Lady of Durgaborothath or something. I stopped paying attention when she turned into a withered corpse and the whole estate was revealed to be a ruin. Normally when I have been drinking the opposite tends to happen. Smooth faces sprout beards and breasts double in size and lusciousness. But I wasn’t drinking that night no, and Thélor seemed oblivious to what we were really being exposed to.
She explained how her father had foolishly made a pact with the necromancer for eternal life. Of course the necromancer befouled his request and cursed them with un-life. I could have seen that one coming a mile away. Someone like that offers you whatever you want, you ask for a voucher for free services rendered at the Gemstone Mine that’s good for eternity. Not everyone is as smart as me, case-in-point the talking corpse that was in front of us.
“Azagri, word of your defeat of ninety-six super Trelf-Orcs empowered by the dark lord Melkor himself has reached me even in this place. To gain entry to the Healing Tree of Cor Trelflia you must bring a leaf from the tree that is already used. Only then can you gain three new leaves. In return for providing you this used leaf, you must give me one of the three you are gifted.”
Yeah, just when we were going to get something to help Ganoveth when we finally found him it is unceremoniously ripped from our grasp.
We struck the deal and in addition Pedraugy would escort us to the eaves of Mirkwood where Alric and the horses were waiting. Then we would give him the leaf for his corpse lady and we would be merrily on our way as dwarfs tend to be.
We collected Baldur and headed for the tree. A beautiful tree it was, as trees go. I ain’t no tree hugger or nothing but this tree was good for hugging so I did once we got there. We had to reveal our used leaf before we could approach. Much like the Gemstone mine actually, you have to put the marks on the dresser before the ladies… you know.
We each were given a leaf, and once in hand we departed. I suggested that Pedraugy let us ride on his Wargs but he didn’t like that idea. Something about the world ending before he let some filthy Dwarf ride on one of his pack. He was just jealous because my beard was prettier than his.
We reached the eaves and not long after tracked down Alric and the horses. We gave one leaf to Pedraugy and he promptly fucking transformed into a super wolf and took off. Who knew?
Alric grabbled something in their wood-cutting language. Apparently Baldur promised him a leaf. Well that’s too bad because us dwarves made no such bargain. Alric was quite angry and Baldur was talking some serious shit but the fact of the matter was he bargained away an extra leaf he didn’t have and we weren’t budging on our leaf to save Wily.
Baldur convinced Alric that they could return in the next season and get three more leaves. With that we headed toward the area of the road where we had planned to meet Brógan as he was tending Wily and looking after Baldur’s wife as she rode in our mobile dwarven assault platform. Some might call it an armored wagon but that just isn’t doing it justice.
On the way back I saw Alric, who I was riding with, go for his knife. I had been waiting for this to happen as I knew this crusty prick would not be satisfied until he had our leaf. I grabbed his hand that was pulling on the knife and crushed it! Then brought it to his throat and told him to keep riding. Baldur did the same and stabbed Thélor in the gut. Apparently it had never been explained to them that stabbing a Dwarf in full platemail armor with a dagger in the most armored section of the armor is a really bad idea. Their treachery failed and I was excited that we would now have an extra leaf for Ganoveth!
Right up until Thélor decided to reward Baldur’s treachery by letting him keep the leaf, giving him some of our food, and letting him go but without the horses we were going to give him. THAT WILL LEARN HIM GOOD I RECKON!
Ganoveth was literally chopped in half and somehow didn’t die and Thélor decided to give the magical healing leaf to some back-stabbing, or I guess stomach-stabbing in this case, woodsman who is of no consequence to this world at all? It is retarded acts of mercy like that that have me convinced that even though dark powers are offered to him he could never accept them as it would be a completely gross breach of his character. That, and I would bitch-slap his beard off.
We gave our one and only leaf to Brógan who was able to make a poultice for Wily who soon recovered after it was applied to the wound. “Thank you Dwarf and Elf friends! I will tell the tale to my legion of subjects of how Azagri the Great slew one-hundred and eight Melkor-empowered super Trelf-Orc-marauders in defense of Wilyador, god of the Great Eagles and slayer of Orc’s unless they shoot him with a poisoned arrow first! Until we meet again!” With that, Wily was free.
And that’s exactly how it happened.
The events which followed…
- They take up the road to Rhosgobel. The way is rough, but they manage to make it without incident. Rhosgobel is surrounded by birds and birds nests of every shape imaginable. They are welcomed inside by Radagast.
- They tell Radagast their story and ask him to translate Ganoveth’s folio. Thélor reveals that he has been touched by the Speaker, and that she knows all that he does.
- Radagast reads the document, and is disturbed by it. Stirred to action, he sends out all of his birds to search for Ganoveth and Ebonrath-Sahil. He implores them to wait in Rhosgobel until they hear back. The Dwarves (and Brógan) agree.
- A month later, Radagast is excited to tell them that Ganoveth is found. He is in a cave in Angmar. The Eagles have agreed to transport them there because of the help they gave Wilyador—a rare honor! However, they can only take two. Brógan (and Zak) must stay behind with Radagast.
- At dawn, three Great Eagles (Gwaihir the Windlord, Wilyador, and Landroval) arrive at Rhosgobel and take Thélor and Zag into the air.
- Days of wondrous flight later, they come to Angmar. They find Ganoveth in the cave. Gano tries to explain that Ariunaa is the one who put him there. That she’s been tending to him. They do not understand. They try to get him out quickly, when suddenly there is a figure at the cave entrance. Thélor calls out a challenge. “Thélor? Is it you?” comes the soft response.
- She begs them come outside. Warily, they do—Ganoveth barely able to support himself. She tells Thélor she wants to die under the stars. He doesn’t understand. She explains that he needs to kill her. Gano has said he will not. The Speaker—she—is doing terrible things. It needs to end. She has tried to kill herself… But that rouses the Speaker. She pleads with them to do it. To kill her.
- Thélor is in favor of it, but he believes only a blow from Ebonrath-Sahil will do the job, and Ganoveth refuses. Ari pleads with them, but Ganoveth promises to save her. She tells him that she’s learned Elwen is alive and being held by the Speaker in Zarak Dûm to try and entice him to venture there. Then, suddenly, she orders them to, “Run!” the Speaker is returning. They flee and are picked up the Eagles, who were circling overhead, and make for Rivendell.